Bradley Replacement to Outweigh Abrams Tank

Bradley Replacement to Outweigh Abrams Tank

The Army’s high-priority battle wagon, the Ground Combat Vehicle, is likely to weigh as much as 84 tons, making it the heaviest armored vehicle on the battlefield.

The new weight estimate, released by the Congressional Budget Office, mean that the service’s replacement for the outdated Bradley fighting vehicle would be heavier than an M1 Abrams tank and weigh more than two current Bradleys.

The CBO latest working paper, “Technical Challenges of the U.S. Army’s Ground Combat Vehicle Program,” makes the GVC resemble overly ambitious Army programs that failed in the past such the Comanche attack helicopter, the Crusader self-propelled howitzer and the family of super vehicles under the failed Future Combat Systems program.

Even at that weight, the CBO maintains that the GCV “would still need to employ new electromechanical active protection systems to meet the Army’s survivability goal.”

The Army intends to replace about 40 percent of the Bradleys in its heavy combat brigades with GVCs. The Army issued a revised RFP in November 2010 after the initial solicitation were deemed too ambitious and created a real possibility that high technical risks and immature technologies would lead to spiraling costs and schedule delays.

The revised RFP left some flexibility in how the contractor could address the requirements and designated a manufacturing cost of between $9 million and $10.5 million per vehicle, an average procurement unit cost of $13 million per vehicle, and a sustainment cost of $200 per mile of operation.

Three teams submitted proposals.5 In August 2011, the Army awarded contracts valued at about $450 million each to two of the contractor teams: one led by General Dynamics Land Systems and the other by BAE Systems.

The Army announced an initial acquisition goal of 1,874 vehicles with production of the vehicle starting in 2018. The Bradley replacement must protect the crew and a nine-man infantry squad against a specified list of threats and be able to operate a wide range of conflict types by having three variable levels of protection according to the anticipated threat.

The requirement that the GCV carry a nine-man squad and the remaining crew inside the vehicle’s protected volume is a primary factor in setting the size, weight, and cost of the GCV, the CBO maintains.

The service’s fleet of medium-weight Stryker armored vehicles, which first fielded that capability in 2003, enjoyed a high rate of success in combat operations over the past decade.

But even at such a tank-like weight, the GVC’s survivibility will likely have to rely on its ability to avoid being engaged at all given the growing capabilities and attack angles of modern threats, the CBO maintains. And if the vehicle is engaged, designers try to prevent the threat from hitting the vehicle. That approach results in a “multilayered scheme—the “survivability onion”—in which armor is one of the last lines of defense,” according the CBO.

This sounds a lot like what the fleet of manned and unmanned ground vehicles under FCS was supposed to achieve. An extensive system of networked sensors would provide near-complete awareness of the situation around the vehicle while remote weapons killed most threats. The advanced networks would analyze and disseminate the intelligence and targeting data.

To date, however, the networks have not been able to provide the necessary information in a complete and timely manner, the CBO maintains. In 2011, the Directorate of Operational Test and Evaluation concluded that recent testing by the Army showed that the sensor and communication networks were still not ready for that task, CBO states. Furthermore, even proponents of network-based warfare agree that it may be impossible to establish sufficient situation awareness to avoid many engagements.

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84 tons? Assuming (doubtfuly) the capability and unit cost targets can be met, how can this weight be sustained at $200/operating mile? And what about deployability? If this weight is suddenly acceptable, we should have purchased the Crusader years ago,

Are you kidding me, twice the weight of a Bradley and heavier than an M-1. We are no longer fighting the Russians in Europe. We need vehicles like these than can be transported quickly to where they are needed in the Pacific theatre. At these weights they will have to be transported by cargo ships to get large numbers to a location. They cant get those large numbers anywhere quickly in transport aircraft. This sounds like another Defense spending debacle and already has the smell of failure to it. Just my 0.2 cents.

Prof GCV is a waste of money and time. fact is it wil be slower and BIGGER target than the Bradley ever was. Strange just read a article about the Army upgrading the M-2/3 so it can stay in service past 2020 is this another costly duel strategy? Same with ICC vs M-4 Carbine and from Mathew Cox’s lat report last month the Army is buying ALOT of new M-4A1s. Overall we need a new tank more than a APC. If we have to get a new vehicle because of age and its place in war the M-1 is older than the Bradley and Striker combined. I dont see this Bradley do fine better than the crappy BMP-3 Russia and better than the BMP knock off China made so why bother to replace it is our enemy’s dont have any thing close to as good. M-113s in none APC roles dose well too for Ambulance and Mortar carrier and base security its not going heads up to T-80s or Type 99s. This is all of the stupid Pentagons big thing if its old and works they must replace it every thing must be new to look good because its the 21st century crap. Same about failed to replace the Apache M-109 USAF and to replace the F-16 and A-10 and it leads to money lost.

“If we have to get a new vehicle because of age and its place in war the M-1 is older than the Bradley and Striker combined.”

Um, no its not. The M1 came out in 1980, and the M2 in 1981. Both vehicles have gone through multliple refits over their history with almost the entire fleet refurbished to near-zero miles which is why the M1 factory in Ohio is now on cold status — they don’t have anything else to do. The M3A3s I used in Iraq in 2007 were sent back to the factory after our deployment and stripped all the way down to the basic chassis and given new everything. Except for a couple Marine tank companies in OEF, the M1 hasn’t been used for anything more than gunnery in about 5 years.

“This is all of the stupid Pentagons big thing if its old and works they must replace it every thing must be new to look good because its the 21st century crap”

Didn’t you just complain that the M1 needed to be replaced just because its old?

83 tons? It’ll look great in the motorpool — it’ll be too heavy to drive on anything but modern highways and bridges and even more expensive to ship anywhere.

“the GCV’s survivibility will likely have to rely on its ability to avoid being engaged at all given the growing capabilities and attack angles of modern threats…”

One of the heaviest armored vehicles in history and it’s supposed to rely on not getting hit? WTF?

Might I suggest a name for the GCV? How about “The Mobile Maginot Line”? Assuming it actually proves to be mobile at 84 tons, of course.

I’m not sure that this weight is entirely accurate. I have seen one of the 2 competitors offerings and it was significantly less than 84 tonnes. I can’t imagine that GCV will come at nearly that size, which would be closer to the new Israeli APC.

Here is the actual CBO report referenced in the article.

It’s a Bolo, next up is the TSDS, AI, survival center, Hellbores and infinite repeaters…

TanksAway, I’m afraid you’re mistaken. At best you may have seen a generic protype from industry. The requirements (CDD) are not final and approved so anything you may have seen was nothing more than advertising.

If they were Smart, they would Upgrade the current Bradley by removing the existing turret, and replace it with a new 40 mm CTA Remote Turret with Dual Javelin or Spike missiles on it. With the room made inside by removing the old turret system they could get their 9 man squad and have much more Fire Power with the New Turret than the older 25 mm and it won’t cost the US Taxpayer UP TINE Billions of $$$ in the process. I would also add the same turret to the Styrker.

No because Tank design changed no real APC designed changed. Im not for a M-1 replacement just stating about why we bother to replace one vehicle with another and not addressing others. The M-1 design dates to the late 70s not 1980 while the Bradley entered service in 1982 which makes it a few years younger in design,

I agree a overhaul of all vehicles is needed.

I think to replace the Bradley IFV, the Swedish Combat Vehicle 90, Israels Namer or Germans Boxer would be a perfect option

The namer I doubt will get US service Obama is straining US-Israeli relations and too doesn’t offer much over US APCs now.

A grenade launcher?

But everyone here keeps saying everything armored must face tanks!!!

Even if it won’t do that well against them!!!

Back to irrelevance as in the Kosovo period. The US Army could not deploy and played no meaningful role in the conflict. At 80 tons, the US Army will be going no where without a 6 month notice and uncontested entry via a deep water port.

Bradley’s can sit in garrison just as well as a GCV.

Too big, too heavy, “Heavy Bde” indicates more armour vs a light divi like the 82d w/ less vehicles. Are they ever going to replace the M113/577 series of ancient vehicle developed in 1959? The Bradley complements the Abrams and we are not planning to duke it out with the Russians, Iran maybe, China possible, But it takes a huge amt os shipping to move a Heavy Div, Now we’ll need more to haul these overweight, over proced buckets around. Remember budget cuts??

The 84-ton weight on this beast point to a vehicle some might consider “sub-useful” simply based on the logistical nightmare it would cause: expensive to transport and super expensive to run just when the DoD is looking to *reduce* their logistical burdens.

And to make matters worse (as some have posted), the tremendous weight limits the bridges, etc, it can traverse.


The M1 prototype was completed in 1976 and the first one came off the assembly line in 1980. The M2 prototype was completed in 1977 but Congress had issues with the program. It wasn’t approved for production until 1980 and the first one was built in 1981. Both programs were started at pretty much the same time.

Shades of the Crusader program. I remember Shinseki talking about going lighter and more deployable and at the same time supporting an artillery system that was coming close to the M1’s weight.

Don’t need to jump to the Mk XX that quick, I will settle for multiple turrets, VLS and combat drones for now.

OK guys, let’s improve on the last proposal. We need to lose weight…wah wahhhh wahhhhhhhh.

So the M-1 is older. Doesn’t matter they both dont need to be replaced now.

84 tons.…..sea mobility.….84 tons.…air mobility.…..84 tons.….roads destroyed.….84 tons.….bridges?.….84 tons.… hill terrain.…84tons.…. very soft riverbed
84 tons -> no go

There is an old engineering proverb: “Fast, cheap, good. Pick any two of the three.”

With regard to 21st century armored vehicle design, we have the following tradeoffs: air-transportable, protective, affordable. Pick any two of the three.

Thats why it seems to make more sense to go with the competing variant that is based on the Stryker (something like 70% common parts), V-shaped hull, etc.

At 84 tons this vehicle will be like the German Elephant of World War 2 — too big to move, too heavy to fight.
The Elephant was a spectacular failure, so why make that mistake again. What happened to fast, mobile, and lethal combat vehicles for a mobile army?


Much of the success of early WW2 blitzkrieg with the light pansytanks was that the enemy did not have anti-tank weapons at the time: a rifle doesn’t do much against a tank, the Poles did have recoilless rifles with their cavalry troops, which is why they stalled the Germans for weeks in bitter fighting.

Not sure if the Belgians and the French had much in organic infantry anti-tank weapons…

Fast and mobile against ATGMs is a dangerous proposition, depending on the terrain. Look at Lebanon, where the terrain forced the IDF to hit Hezbollah head on. I suppose if they had more time to strike and the troops to do so, an amphibious landing to the north to encircle Hezbollah would not have been a bad option.

Returning to topic: The military is realizing that the spectrum of war has returned parity to the infantryman. ATGMs, especially top-attack and fire & forget ATGMs, make life interesting…

If we think our tanks will be running into mines more often, the next tank will have a V-bottom, but it requires ground clearance as well…meaning a vehicle that will be more difficult to conceal.

Then again, in a modern day and age with an advanced surveillance strike complex, simply hiding LOS is no longer enough.

The British Warrior IFV is going a 40mm chaingun. Caseless telescoping round too. Very promising.

Returreting the legacy force would be a fairly cheap way to test new weapons configurations, at least until technology matures enough and the economic recovery gives us enough legroom to build new vehicles. Same with re-engining the legacy force.

This must be a joke — an 84 ton IFV? If its not a joke is amount to clear proof of insanity gripping Dept of the Army.

Fast, mobile and lethal. That is what the Marines are for.

All that weight and all that money and they still can not guaruntee nobody will get hurt. Maybe we need to throw in another couple mil and another 10 ton. How much fuel per mile?? We don’t want the reserves jumping up and embarassing the Defense boss now do we. It worked for the Hummer to the MRAP why not for the personnel mover.

Idiots are still peddling the “Obama is straining US-Israeli relations” lie?

TanksAway, the problem is that there’s an irreconcilable difference between the weight that meets the requirements, the weight the Army wants, and the weight the Army is willing to admit to.

A vehicle that carries 9 dismounts at the required protection level either uses unaffordable exotic materials, or weighs ~90 tons (with EFP add-on). This isn’t rocket science; it’s a straightforward calculation from the required cubage, the thickness of the required armor, the areal densities of the materials, the parasitic weight of the powertrain, etc. The Army doesn’t want to believe it, though.

A 9-dismount IFV that only costs $13M APUC will have significantly lower force protection than a Bradley. A 9-dismount IFV that protects better than a Bradley will either weigh 90 tons or cost $20M. (Keep in mind that the only credible current cost estimate for GCV is the $17M independent estimate — the $13M figure is the affordability limit, not an estimate.)

I wonder if it’s made-up. like the some of the Star Wars Program initiatives in the 80s. What if this article and the contract offerings and prototypes are supposed to make potential enemy nations into wasting money in buildinger bigger APCs and tanks, or stupid weapon systems designed to kill this 80-ton monstrosity. It could be a hoax.

There is a reasonable looking M113 replacement program getting started; it’s called AMPV. Unfortunately, the Army is making it a lower priority than GCV, which means that when GCV eats the entire combat vehicle investment budget, AMPV will get squeezed out — along with Paladin PIM, Abrams upgrades, etc.

What’ll probably happen is they’ll adopt an “oh well” to sabots, and try to use active defense against ATGMs and ERA/appliques for the RPGs.

Realistically if you want to carry lots of infantry you will probably drop the turret (like with Namur and Achzarit)

By about a year. You made it sound like the Abrams was a decade older.

Funny when GEN DePuy was quoted as saying that adding the TOW missile was the only thing that kept Congress from cancelling the Bradley back in 1977.

Because Marines have a natural defense against IEDs and anti-tank missiles?

Tell it to the AAAV’s that got chewed up in Al-Anbar. Or while heading north..

I hope you’re joking. The entire world watched us over the last decade take thousands of casualties from IEDs. Nobody needs to build bigger armored vehicles. They just need to stay home and let the mines do the work.

The one saving grace for our WW2 Sherman tanks and others was their speed and maneuverability that allowed them to get around and behind the Tigers and Panthers to hit them from their vulnerable rear quadrant and engine compartment. An 80 ton Bradley is ridiculous.

The Stryker does well at what it does because it is in an infantry taxi — it is not an IFV. The Bradley was built to go head to head with other armored vehicles and it looks like they want this thing to do both. Unless the active defense system ends up being a cure-all for ATGMs, then this may end up as another EFV project where they keep adding weight and complexity until the vehicle breaks down or is too expensive. I hate to put it in these terms, but its folly to build a vehicle with the idea that you can somehow prevent your troops from ever getting hurt in it.

“Mobile Maginot Line”. Awesome. I shall steal that shamelessly in the future.

(One thing people also seem to be missing is the sheer size of the thing. As proposed, it’s basically the size of my living room — if my living room had 12 foot ceilings.)

yea, we would need it if the rest of the conventional armies in the world fought like the Iraqi and Afghan insurgents. but most likely not because there wouldn’t be time or predictability to use IED’s constantly. it’s not the type of weapon you want to use on a front-line war.

I know you know but this is the CBO talking. The Army hasn’t even selected anything nor have prototypes for theGCV been built (the AoA was looking at options, none were final prototypes). Interesting article but much ado about nothing.

“A lower-technology approach is to use maneuvering and terrain (that is, tactics) to avoid detection. Those techniques may not always be possible but can be remarkably effective…a vehicle with more mobility has more freedom to maneuver..” I did not realize that CBO analysts had such a wry sense of humor. Expect lieutenants and captains to know how to maneuever ? Why, you might as well expect them to do land navigation without a GPS !!

But in fact the analysts mistated the issue. The old saying was “if you can be seen, you can be shot” — but the entire purpose of fire AND movement is to take care of that when you have to expose yourself. And if you run the numbers, the BVF, ICV, GCV and Stryker are all less maneuverable than the M1, with a horsepower-weight ratio of 17–18 versus the M1 at 22. Just who is minding the store at Fort Benning these days ?

You could extend the Bradley, Puma, CV90 and not come close to 90T and under $20mil.

The CBO is a technical report assessing a vehicle that doesn’t exist yet. The author didn’t mention the report says 64-84T which scares folks (it’s working).

Before moving forward the Army must decide if it wants tank like protection (Namer size/cost). If it accepts less protection it must communicate and get congressional approval. Our casualty aversion is has become a strategic weakness.

Finally, IF we decide to go with tank like protection for infantry we should look at an M1 based solution (we have plenty of hulls) and then the Namer. Going that way will significantly impact deployment by doubling deployment requirements for Infantry units. Not good.

Thanks for the link.

An external Javelin could be added easily and at the last minute but yep, it’s ironic.

I’m all for going lighter but our out of control casualty aversion makes that option unacceptable.

Don’t overestimate the “advanced surveillance strike complex”. Most weapons need LOS and drones are susceptible to enemy air defense. We haven’t seen this battle yet.

Our out of control casualty aversion is our greatest weakness and the driving factor in size/cost.

Yes he is massive arms sales to the new Islamist government in Egypt and Obama cutting hopes of any Israeli strike on Iran’s Nuke facilitates.

I didnt say that.

blight — The Poles had anti-tank rifles not recoilless. Further the ATGM vs. tank dynamic has beenraging for decades. That’s why they want to armor up the Infantry so they can close with and destroy the ATGMs. BTW, that “advanced surveillance strike complex” you cited before applies to ATGMs also. It’s much easier to find crew served weapons with today’s sensors and strike them with precision munitions.

Our casualty aversion is our greatest weakness and the driving factor in size.

Tony — not promoting the heavy option but you do know that the M1 weighs more than the WWII Elephant and is four times as fast?

CBO wrote the repot, not the Army.

tmb — Frankly we are taking the wrong lessons. We lost 4000 in Iraq over years (60–70% ti IEDs). We lost that many in a day in WWII.

We have appropriate protection levels in our equipment. What we lack is the political will to fight wars properly to keep the cost in human life (and other resources) down.

tmb — “The Bradley was built to go head to head with other armored vehicles” Not entirely accurate. The Bradley’s mission is to support the Infantry squad and fight like type vehicles. Bradleys are a match for other IFVs. They were never meant to be a match for tanks.

Forgetting that distinction and aggravating it with unrealistic protection requirements puts us on the road to the Namer and a doubling of our deployment requirements.

The Bradley is not meant to take out tanks. Shermans fought tanks and against a Tiger and Panther typically lost four to one. Not a good exchange. Just imagine. We’d never accept that today.

I agree 80T is ridiculous but your reasoning is wrong. We are looking at this level of protection because we (Americans) have unrealistic expectations of war casualties. This is a self inflicted wound.

I suspect that “ideal” armchair conditions allowed people to think that Bradleys could take on tanks.

GW1, where Iraqi tanks couldn’t touch a TOW-wielding IFV, let alone a Humvee at range…especially at night.

Oh great, the Army is trying to make their own “F-35″ program, unaffordable and unsustainable.

Good point. They did have Bofors 40’s for AA and 37s for AT, but the latter is towed and so is the former.

Wikipedia has this much to say about their AT rifles:

“The effective range was 300 metres and the weapon was effective against all German tanks of the period (the Panzer I, II and III, as well as the Czech-made LT-35 and LT-38) at 100 meters. At up to 400 meters it could penetrate all lightly armored vehicles. It could penetrate 15 mm of armor, sloped at 30° at 300 m distance, or 33 mm of armor at 100 m. Interestingly, an Italian manual stated maximum penetration as 40 mm.”

Pz1 had MG 13’s and Pz2 had a 20mm plus an MG.

The Elefant is definitely unfair: the Abrams at the moment is more like the Panther, not *too* heavy, but certainly heavy enough to cause concern for the infrastructure of expected deployment theatres.

Careful Tee, you’re making too much sense.

It’s not just carrying nine guys, but carrying the entire equipment load of a rifle squad.

Are we going to move towards an external stowage model of carrying Extra Stuff, and plan for that too?

Maybe we should just have them ride like tankodesantniki…

Completely agree majr0d, I just don’t think his “its a conspiracy to make the chinese build heavier tanks” theory makes any damn sense.

Agree with the tank comment — that’s why I said “armored vehicles.” Yeah I probably could have been more specific. They gave it reactive tiles and the TOW for a reason and it showed that it could do pretty well in a mechanized fight.

The reactive tiles were primarily added to defeat ATGM threats from Infantry and light vehicles not tanks. I know you know the difference but many reading this blog see tracks and think “TANK”.

The Bradley can hold it’s own against like vehicles. It cannot against tanks. Two TOW missiles with a long flight time and requiring the Bradley to remain stationary do not compare against a tank that can fire sabot rounds at the rate one every five sec on the move.

When we planned, trained, simulated and wargamed Bradley’s against tank formations the Bradleys almost always lost if not supported by tanks. They simply can’t kill the tanks quick enough to stop a massed attack. Again, I think you know this. It’s just many read here and form opinions and so the nuances become important.

Well,Well what will they come up with next, Now everone knows where the DoD funds are going to ! I think the Military needs to rethink there battlefield tacticts,an army is ment to engage the enemy not avoid engagements.

The actual CBO study was first posted by tmb2 above. I read it and it is an AWESOME read. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in armor and mechanized infantry. It is a great primer but is full of charts that compare armor vehicles from the M113 to the M1A2 that really do an awesome job of explaining how they compare in protection. I found it so useful I’ve saved it as a reference. If you are really interested in the GCV discussion this is a must read.

BTW, the above article never mentions the vehicle is targeted between 64 and 82T. I’d like to see the Army documents because this is definitely heavier than what I understood the GCV was supposed to be. I’m not sure if the Army has changed their thought process as this is a CBO document.

Gen DePuy was also facing hordes of Russian tanks. I think we were outnumbered like 5 to 1 and this was before the M1.

I don’t see why you’d speak poorly of our maneuver leaders. Seems they’ve done fine over the last decade where they’ve done PLENTY of maneuvering.

The M1A2 is listed at 21.6 and the M2A3 Bradley is 18.8 hp/T. Round up the tank but not the Bradley? Like we’re talking a huge difference anyway? They keep up just fine and BTW the M60 was a paltry 13.1 and the Stryker is a different class of vehicle.

General Dynamics & BAE’s GCV concept are both over 23 hp/T. Looks like they are minding the store fine at Benning. Don’t you ever get tired of bashing Ft. Benning?

No doubt the Army was slow in getting to the area. Differing railroad gages and rivers will do that to an army but “played no meaningful role in the conflict”? You do realize the Serbs gave in because they weren’t going to be able to stop the ground threat that finally did get to the border.

The CV90 and the Puma don’t fit a 9 man Infantry squad which is non negotiable. Check out the CBO report p3-5. It does a good job of explaining why it’s so important.

I’m sorry, this whole thing is “engineers gone wild”. Maybe there is an ueber protection level that gets you to 80 tons. But anybody stupid enough to ignore flank and rear security to the extent necessary to need it.…

Arrgh — infantry fights alone. Don’t need no stinkin’ tanks.

This is idiotic. You’re designing a vehicle whose sole purpose is not to fight, but to protect a squad mounted — you decrement the armament, you make it just as much a pig as all the other infantry carriers that preceded it. But the one thing you can’t possibly do is reduce the number of men carried. For what ? So you can run around and not dismount to use that squad ? This is crazy.

There are lots of nuances to that tale. The US moved an armored division into Hungary, but you never saw so much pussyfooting in Albania and Macedonia…all because Clinton was determined to fight a war with zero casualities.

Of course, those were the days when we did have armored divisions forward deployed and had the option.

Funny, the Israelis seem to be massing up right now for another push into Lebanon. I guess they didn’t get the Gates/Rumsfeld memo proclaiming heavy forces to be obsolete.

“The Bradley is not meant to take out tanks. Shermans fought tanks and against a Tiger and Panther typically lost four to one. Not a good exchange. Just imagine. We’d never accept that today.

I agree 80T is ridiculous but your reasoning is wrong. We are looking at this level of protection because we (Americans) have unrealistic expectations of war casualties.”

NOW you start having this line of thinking majr0d.

How very “convenient.”

You know, I think this demonstrates the negative legacy that NTC training gives us. If your fighting in the wide open spaces, with few good defilade positions, then maybe this statement has some value. You end up trying to balance things up with high risk defenses in reverse slope positions — positions that can always be flanked if the adversary has enough infantry and patience to dig you out. But in many other settings, it is a different story. You can take advantage of concealment and perhaps cover to get the shot off first and scoot out, or chance a second shot if the bad guys haven’t closed the range. Before the M1, even after the M1 was fielded, we had no illusions of vulnerability. MILES reinforced that “if you can be seen, you can be shot and killed” motto. But in the end, defense as much as offense is about making the most of what you have at hand.

My fault, I didn’t see the article.

What an interesting piece of armament that the EU has created.

I am curious if this will end up like “Trophy” for the US.

Really — even Bing West put out reports complaining about how our infantry can’t close during a fire fight. And the battle rattle was holding them back. When guys like Mattis talk about everything devolving to a squad fight, I question that attitude. Instead of fighting as a system of systems, our ground forces are going the way of the Navy and fighting by platforms. That’s why you can’t see why it doesn’t matter how big or small you make squads and platoons, as long as you get there first with the most. And it is also why we keep piling up protection levels on individual vehicles rather than looking at the larger picture. I don’t see anything happening at Fort Benning to make me think otherwise.

Very true. It was that very idea — of avoiding rather than accepting battle that helped kill FCS. Some of the maneuver warfare zealots — Bill Lind comes to mind — exacerbated the problem by spreading the lie that you can avoiding killing and being killed if you are just clever enough.

This article relies on very old, very obsolete information which ceased to be true over a year ago. The weight of both GCV designs has already been significantly reduced. BTW, even before it was reduced, the General Dynamics vehicle’s weight was only 64 tones — LESS than an Abrams tank — not 84 tons.

You always fight with what you have.

My experience is from a three year tour in Germany (plenty of areas to set up good defensive positions) and a couple of years of doing FCS simulations. At a 1 to 1 ratio, a Bradley unit can defeat a comparable sized tank unit if it trades space for time. Unfortunately doctrine requires units to be able to defeat and enemy three times its size.

Lessons learned? This appears to be a vehicle designed by someone who has never been in combat. Didn’t the Germans try this with the Panzer VIII? The costs of operating and maintaining a heavy vehicle outweigh (See what I did there?) the benefits and actually divert men and resources from the front. Better for the tip of the spear to be a sharp cutting edge than a blunt smashing instrument.

It’s not accurate. It’s obsolete for both competing designs. And even before weight reduction efforts, GD’s vehicle weighed only 64 tons.

How about simply cancelling this program and continuing the production of the proven M1 and M2 vehicles that have served the military so well?

The weight of battle rattle is far from saying our leaders can’t maneuver as you originally stated. You are taking Bing West out of context as his point is we weigh down the individual soldier. Same for Mattis.

You whined about power to weight ration by rounding some numebrs and not others when the difference is minimal and has been demonstrated in combat to not be a problem.

You can’t see things from a combined arms perspective and make up info to support that position.

BTW, the armor branch is at Benning now.

True VP and they are using Namers to transport their 9 man infantry squads… Hmmmm, go figure?

You can’t get out of your head that every vehicle with tracks is not a tank. Both APC & IFV concepts primary purpose is to transport the infantry squad safely. Second to that is support the squad once it engages. The IFV concept raises the standard a little to defeat the threat a squad may face, an enemy armored vehicle.

Reducing the size of the squad is foolish for the force. First there are very good reasons we have nine man squads (fire & maneuver, resilience, firepower, casualty evac, multiple missions). We’ve had this discussion before at length and you were wrong then also. http://​www​.dodbuzz​.com/​2​0​1​1​/​0​8​/​1​9​/​t​h​e​-​a​r​m​y​s​-​g​c​v-fhttp://​www​.cna​.org/​d​o​c​u​m​e​n​t​s​/​D​0​0​0​2​7​0​5​.​A​1​.​pdf

Finally sizing a vehicle down is the wrong approach to creating a fighting vehicle. Note the M1 was built to fit four men, not three and nations that have done so have paid a price in being able to conduct sustained operations or maintain their operational readiness. The Russians could do it because they would use units until they were combat ineffective and had replacements. We don’t have that approach with armor nor do we have it with Infantry. It’s not that complicated.

Did you see where someone painted the M1 at the front gate of Benning infantry blue last month?

You’re “projecting”. Tankers used to think “speed and steel” was the solution to every problem. Over the last ten years as they’ve been pulled kicking and screaming from their tracks they’ve learned why it’s a combined fight. That’s probably the most important benefit of the last decade. We’re going to have a heck of a time getting armor back in the turrret. :)

Better yet, will they get rid of the .22 cal rifle on the turrent, and put some FIREPOWER in place????

Pat, the Ferdinand and Elefant were both fully developed and produced tanks. The Elefant was an improved version of the Ferdinand with a front hull machine gun and a commander’s cupola. The tank was actually not too shabby when it came to its kill to death ratio. Most of it’s “deaths” were self destruction by the crew due to mechanical failures to avoid the capture of the tank.. since they were close to an ever changing front line.

A guy I used to work with has this as his career path: Armor OBC, Light Cav PL, Troop XO, Asst S3, Armor CCC, STB HHC CDR, SFAT TM member, wherever he is now. He should be a Major in about a year and a half. Except for school he’s NEVER been inside a tracked vehicle. I imagine he’s not alone.

Because the M2 doesn’t meet the requirement for protection or number of passengers carried.

You forgot a major logistical “saving grace”- the Shermans were easily mass produced and easily maintained. It probably made the 4-to-1 ratio vs. heavy Panzers sustainable.

I suppose this is some genius’s idea to make an IED proof vehicle, sadly the person who dreamed this up, did not consider that a thicker heavier vehicle will only generate larger IEDs. Once again the brain trust is designing new weapons to fight the last war.

Why is the 9 man squad in each vehicle set in stone. By the end of January we may only have funding for 6–7 man squads anyway. This is all about the great American defense industry continueing to suck on the teet, but now it appears the sow is running dry. If we bought directly from the CV90(for example) factory and left the large American Corporations out of the mix, we would easily afford the 4 extra vehicles per Infantry Company/ CAV Troop while maintaining mobility, firepower and enhancing redundancy. Time for the DOD to get dipped in the Tick Bath.

sounds like a mobile fortress to me.….. Too bad it will be too heavy to be mobile.

The 9 man squad has been Army doctrine for a better part of the century. We found in this war that getting a fully equipped squad to a fight quickly had a lot of value and reduced C2 issues of having your guys split up. For a pretty good debate on having the squad in a single vehicle versus two, see the discussion between VP and Majrod in the GCV Fait Accompli article on this site.

There are very good reasons we have nine man squads (fire & maneuver, resilience, firepower, casualty evac, multiple missions). When bullets start flying more troops to hold the line have historically proven to be more effective. FTR, the Marines maintain 11 man squads. We’ve had this discussion before at length http://​www​.dodbuzz​.com/​2​0​1​1​/​0​8​/​1​9​/​t​h​e​-​a​r​m​y​s​-​g​c​v-f

If you want to really understand the issue I suggest reading “Development of the Squad: Historical Analysis by Van Riper. http://​www​.cna​.org/​s​i​t​e​s​/​d​e​f​a​u​l​t​/​f​i​l​e​s​/​r​e​s​e​a​r​c​h/D… It’s a seminal study.

In short seven man squads don’t defend or attack as well as 9 man squads. What in the past was a squad attack now becomes two to achieve the required superiority. The frontage of a 9 man squad in the defense doesn’t shrink when it goes to seven. You have to strip manpower from another element to defend the same ground. Multiply the impact as you go to platoons, companies and battalions and one begins to understand how what may seem minor has huge ramifications. Just consider that one casualty typically takes two troops to evacuate. A squad of seven effectively loses 50% of its strength to evacuate ONE casualty rendering it combat ineffective (by the book that’s 70% strength) to execute its mission. Further the fire team has four men so it can execute fire and maneuver by two buddy teams (so one can always protect one’s buddy while moving and reloading).

The CBO study tmb2 provided earlier also provides some excellent explanation to the self inflicted wound spreading a squad across multiple vehicles is and how we relearned the lessons our M113 based infantry knew and what we rediscovered with Stryker borne Infantry.

Just proves to me that my generation who is now running the Army minds were warped by better living through chemistry.

And the Army wonders why it has an inferiority complex–it is because it is dumb.

Said by a retired Army Officer.

Yes, I understand that. But unless they add a manned turret as a requirement, the design/concept I saw was 62 tonnes without the add-on armor packages. This was from a very reliable source with significant combat platform engineering experience.

When you remove the turret, you also remove much of the structural support for the integrity of the hull. You also have a fuel tank directly under the turrent that would have to be moved, or you risk it being under the squads feet. A lot more engineering and survivability testing would have to be done. This is not a simple pull the turret and let it ride solution.

It’s been mentioned elsewhere that a putative M113 replacement (to bring the rest of the M113-riding force up to snuff with the Abrams/Bradley team) is to take a design based on the Bradley hull and use it as a starting point. It would also standardize the force quite nicely, but increase its footprint.

It doesn’t really matter what the prototypes weigh, unless they both meet the force protection requirements and cost less than $13M each (averaged over a buy of 1874 units). If GD or anyone else can accomplish that with a 64-ton vehicle, I will gladly concede that you were right and I was totally wrong. I’m not going to hold my breath in the meantime, though — I’ve seen the math.

Have you seen “Enhancing Combat Effectiveness: The Evolution of the United States Army Infantry Rifle Squad Since the End of World War II”, by MAJ Timothy Karcher (2002)? It argues persuasively that (1) the reduction to 9-man squads was made for reasons that had nothing to do with effectiveness, and that (2) in order to routinely have 9-man squads fighting, you need 11+ in the TOE. If a 9-man squad loses 1 man, for whatever reason, it is no longer effective at fire-and-maneuver.

He also argues that the original plan for Bradleys, that made it OK for them to only carry 6 or 7, was to have them fight with the dismounts, in support, to make up for the missing guys in fire-and-maneuver — but that we later changed the CONOPS without making up that squad size gap.

True. On the other hand, if you had a requirement for an invisible antigravity IFV, it would probably be a better idea to keep making the M2. The real question is whether the Army’s current set of untradeable requirements is even physically achievable, given the cost constraints. Every analysis I’ve seen says that it isn’t.

It is getting worse that way. These light cavalry dudes are not much more than rangers who ride to work.

That would not be the Army in which I served. Some day, when I’m too old and really retired, I’ll write out the story of how the introduction of the M1 affected armored tactics. Guys like me who had just came out of Germany fought a pretty fierce delaying action against the guys who came out of 1–66 Armor at Fort Hood (first battalion to get M1s) and the NTC crowd who wanted to force Soviet tactics on the Army. Like all things, the result was a compromise. But the current commander of the Mounted Maneuver Center at Fort Benning started off his career in 1–66. A fact I did not know until just recently. ‘Splains a lot.

Another point of historical fact. Jim Leach, who is distinguished as having been Creighton Abrams best company commander in the 37th Tank Battalion, fought and controlled his company dismounted during the entire battle of Singling. Not that this got into doctrine anywhere — or should have. This was the kind of “vignette” that General Sullivan really liked to round out the education of armor officers, such that history “rounds out” doctrine by providing exceptions to the doctrinal paradigm.

It is also a silly myth to ascribe to the IFV the role of supporting the squad — and nothing else. Everywhere you do this, the positioning and fighting of the vehicle becomes suboptimal. You can divide up the function, so that all the thing does is carry troops around, with minimal onboard armament. but at that point it is not an IFV anymore. I remember going through this with the Benning guys and imagining a company strongpoint with Bradleys parked hub-to-hub. I agree that Div 86 (and Div XXI for that matter) did not put enough boots on the ground. But in my view, that has little to nothing to do with how you divide up the dismounts into fire teams, squads and platoons. After the first battle, you end up having to reorganize anyway, based on what you have left. So this is a false argument from the start.

That would be the Israelis prerogative. FWIW, I think Merkava is the biggest pig on the battlefield.

No, but by looking at the threats the vehicle has to protect against, you can get a pretty reasonable estimate of the vehicle weight. You know it’ll take X lbs per sq foot of armor to stop a given threat, and you know about how big it’ll have to be to hold 9 combat loaded troops. With that and some drive train estimates it is not hard to get at a ballpark vehicle weight.

Problem is anti-tank weapons go through a lot of armor and the military is very heavily casualty averse. It’s understandable they hate casualties, but that aversion tends to lead to these sorts of huge armored vehicles that aren’t able to do the job they have to do.

That does raise a relevant issue. There are two approaches — strip the tanks from infantry first, or conversely, strip the infantry from the tanks. Stripping the tanks from the infantry makes it a fairer fight from the IFV point of view. Stripping the infantry from the tanks requires you to accept battle at close range, where the dismounts’ antitank weapons can be brought to bear. As far as the relevance of simulations to this discussion. I strongly recommend you have a look at Robert Leonhard’s “The Art of Maneuver: Maneuver Warfare Theory and Airland Battle”, which makes some very pithy comments about the attritionist assumptions of the simulations used by combat developers and analysts at Fort Benning.

With all respect to Van Riper, the CNA study does not deal with armored infantry organizations and tactics in any serious way — not surprising since the focus — it would appear — is actually on the proper size of the Marine Corps squad. It does state that SLA Marshall is the historical source of the two fire teams of four men plus a squad leader organizational concept…not a bad legacy that, but it is a good example of the kind of “think inside the box” approach that is so characteristic of Fort Benning that they can’t actually imagine an effective DOTLMPF solution to the IFV design problem. So instead, we have people going around painting tanks blue.

I suspect Leonhard’s take on simulations is dated. Simulations have come a long way since Airland Battle. Many of those simulations are no longer in use at Ft. Benning and the overwhelming number of simulations I used at the begining of the century were not attrition based models.

From reviews and discussions Leonhard’s views were very reminisent of some of the discussion surrounding FCS and are integral to understanding Airland Battle and disrupting enemy follow on echelons and attacking centers of gravity.

VP — Having served as both a light infantry and mechanized infantry officer I can attest that the Infantry squad’s function does not change if it’s operating with or without mechanized support.

I suspect you are applying a cavalry perspective to the Infantry role. They are different.

We operate in four vehicle tank platoons and have considered three vehicle platoons as many other countries do. The Armor community rejects that move for the same reasons the Infantry rejects shrinking the squad. I doubt you’d accuse the armor community of failing to think outside the box.

When I see you argue for three man crewed M1s you’ll have much more credibility than the grizzled tanker that fails to see Infantry as more than local security on the mechanized battlefield.

Dave — Yes. We in fact referenced many of the same materials and developed the same conclusions at the Infantry school during the same time period. The Infantry school was under intense pressure at the time by Ft. Knox which was the lead schoolhouse in developing FCS.

The driving force then was shrinking the size of the vehicle so it would fit into a C130 and cutting costs. We did numerous studies and simulations demonstrating how with even a perfected FCS equipped force (that can only be created in a virtual world), squads of 7 or smaller failed resulting in the defeat of the mechanized force in compartmented terrain. We also discovered that two squad mechanized Infantry platoons were also too weak in Infantry to execute their mission. I suspect those findings assisted in the reorganization of the Bradley seating arrangement and platoon strength. (mentioned in this story’s CBO study)

The pressure from the armor school to shrink the Infantry squad was constant and incessant no matter what the cost to the force. They consistently tried to equate the cavalry squad to the Infantry mission. They aren’t the same. The reality of dismounted combat was a key nail in the FCS coffin.

The CBO study repeatedly says “62 to 84 tons” but the article’s author never mentions that. It’s an important distinction especially for context.

VP — No, the IFV’s mission is to transport and support the Infantry squad. You are projecting a tank mission on a vehicle because it has tracks and a cannon. You are as guilty and as extreme as the Infantryman who sees the tank as only an Infantry supporting vehicle. It isn’t.

Putting boots on the ground is a function of how many can fit in the vehicle. Subsequent reorganization is irrelevent. Tank platoons cross level people and ammo after a fight. It’s hardly a false argument.

As one of the few Infantry officers selected to attend the armor officers advanced course (when we had one) I can attest to rounding out armor officers’ education.

Oh, they had 11 man squads at Singling. :)

…and I served with McMaster when he was an instructor at West Point.

Lance, you’re probably the most obnoxious poster on this board. Please actually know what you’re talking about before you go into one of your poorly articulated rants. You sound like a 14 year old that saw that the M113 was rated “best APC” on TV and have developed a bizarre, near religious reverence for “old weapons”

By the way, believe or not, old things do have to get replaced. The Bradley is NOT viable through the 2020s, neither is the F-16 or M109 or M113. I could list a myriad of reasons why, but I doubt you could get it past the barrier of your ego.

“Thats why it seems to make more sense to go with the competing variant that is based on the Stryker (something like 70% common parts), V-shaped hull, etc. ”

Then why even do this at all? Pick an MRAP variant that is closest and go with it. That is basically what they’d be asking for then. They’ve already field a variety of different models and have battle tested them. The only difference is the MRAP don’t have quite the same level of anti-tank armor the GCV would have, but I think that is largely a waste of weight. A “real” anti-tank weapon is going to go through regardless and you can always make a bigger IED.

The saving grace of the WW2 Sherman tanks is that the USA built more in a month than the Germans did throught then entire war. We simply outnumbered them.

Your full of it. Seems by reading here, not your comments but the articles The Bradley is better than most other APCs on the market and 100% better than CHinese junk they use your one of idiots who always need new stuff never make due just new Hay guess what funds will dry up and most say the M-2 will be fine for another 10+ years your idea of CHina making everything better is bull crap you read from Oskosh and other defense companies who want to make a quick buck.

You can rant and rave on who every thing America has is junk, but your full of it. And you fail to even read these articles so back off idiot.

There are only a couple MRAP variants that can carry a full squad and none of them are capable of going off road. You’re opening up the debate to tracks vs wheels which is a whole other can of worms.

Strange this article shows GCV waste and your seem dumb to believe tho opposite A dude or A dud?? I’ve seen M-2s do a good service strange I bet you never saw one.

ok the only thing i can think of that could use updating on the Bradley is more room for the soldiers and the driver, other then that it is a great vehicle. the old Army phrase “KISS” Keep it simple stupid comes to mind here.

A swarm of lighter tracked vehicles that could be configured with drop-on turret weapon options, protected by lighter armor, is a better approach than a queen bee suited only for the size of hive the army builds. Should be a joint forces project, with NATO countries bidding.

A swarm of lighter tracked vehicles that could be configured with drop-on turret weapon options.
Build for Marines, Spec. Ops and NATO forces. All warfighters need to be in on this project: our friends in Europe and Israel are conspicuous by absence in DOD report.

True. I guess the point I made poorly is that they apparently want the vehicle to be counter-IED. You already got one.

The other point is that it is largely a waste to try to make it overly IED proof or overly anti-tank weapon proof. IEDs can always be made larger and an EFP goes through a lot of armor. The larger they are the harder they are to conceal, but it can still be done. Anti-tank weapons chew through a lot of amor as well, and even a tank is not impervious.

By trying to make it impervious, you’re just loading it down with added weight. You’re massively increasing fueld consumption, which in turn increases the logicistical requirements tremendously. It’s also limiting mobility and acceleration, which (depending on the engagement) can be just as important as armor for defense. And it costs a hell of a lot more for all that armor.

The track vs wheeled is an important distinction, but in the case of their specs it’s required (a ~60–80 ton vehicle pretty much needs tracks).

I thought we tried this in the eighties/nineties with the High Tech Division? The swarm of light tracked vehicles, that is..

“If we have to get a new vehicle because of age and its place in war the M-1 is older than the Bradley and Striker combined”

If Bradley=X
And Stryker=2012–2002=10

Then Abrams=Bradley+10?

Protip: If you’re going to change names to attack someone…make sure you don’t write exactly the same way as you normally do. It kind of gives it away.

Well, what’s wrong with thinking inside the box?

Correction. The HTD was all light /wheeled/ vehicles…my bad.

Are you thinking of something Wiesel sized?

The M2 performed poorly in OIF and quite frankly is no longer the top of its class. Given that there are more modern IFV designs out there right now (German Puma and ROK K21 come to mind) it’s justified that we should replace it. Now making sure that the new program has reasonable objectives is another story, but this talk of 84 ton vehicles is a sensationalist non-story, as pointed out.

I’m old enough to have commanded the series H 5 tank platoon. Inevitably, one tank would get lost or killed. So when you have 4 tanks left, you can still run two sections, and when go down to three, you operate as a single “heavy section”. So the analogy does not hold. Without an autoloader, a tank can operate in a slightly degraded state with 3 men, and can function — barely — with two. In practice we would fill out our crews starting with the mechanics to keep our positions manned. As a company commander in peacetime, I often had to balance crews when the company was at 80% strength on a given day. Our infantry counterparts had it no better.

As far as the squad’s function, I agree in principle, but you can’t have it both ways. Either the vehicle is operating with the squad, and provides another maneuver element within the squad and a base of fire for the squad. Or it is doing something else.

The IFV is not just there to transport and support the squad. It is an integral part of the squad unless you organize differently. And yes, there are reams of paper written where we attempted to devise acceptable TTPs to explain how this is supposed to work. At a very basic level it is a false approach to combined arms to say that everything exists (at some level) to support the infantry. Something this army is losing its grip upon, I might add.

What about the Bradley didn’t you like in OIF?

Leonhard wrote his book well before FCS. I argued, without any success, to the effect that some of his concepts should be employed to feed the analysis of the FCS system of systems. But the attrition fail runs deep in the Army analysis community. In point of fact, the Army evaluated the FCS system concept the old fashioned way, using JANUS and CASTFOREM, with very little wargaming involved and certainly no meaningful use of the most interesting simulations that do attempt to capture the fog of battle. So you had an analytic baseline flawed from the beginning, one that mischaracterized and misunderstood the role of depth in AirLand Battle. McMaster picked up on the point in his War College paper, but in effect he attacked the value of all simulations, and I don’t see where the man has come around to this day. Didn’t help that they dissolved the Army’s best resourced and most mature battle lab in the BRAC.

Actually you made my point for me. You can run a tank with three guys in degraded mode or have a platoon of three but you are one casualty away from having a largely ineffective tank or no longer having a tank platoon. That’s AFTER you’ve taken casualties.

You want to take the Infantry squad to that point before a shot is fired and why? So we can create a vehicle! How backwards and ridiculous is that!

If you are truly old enough to remember the 5 tank platoon you’re also old enough to know we had 11 man squads then. Reread the Van riper article (IF you ever read it in the first time) and this time read it objectively trying to understand the points instead of subjectively looking for something to disagree wiith like “he’s a Marine” or “he’s talking about non mechanized infantry” (like there’s a difference). You can also try “Enhancing Combat Effectiveness, the Evoultion of the US ArmyInfantry Rifle Sqd…” http://​www​.dtic​.mil/​c​g​i​-​b​i​n​/​G​e​t​T​R​D​o​c​?​A​D​=​A​D​A​4​0​7​058

“As far as the squad’s function, I agree in principle, but you can’t have it both ways. Either the vehicle is operating with the squad, and provides another maneuver element within the squad and a base of fire for the squad. Or it is doing something else.”

You are fundamentally wrong and fail to understand the fundamental truth of dismounted combat. You’ve never led an Infantry unit. I have done both. The vehicle never follows directly behind the Infantry squad for a variety of reasons. The squad often goes where the vehicle can’t. Fire & maneuver requires the support element to stay stationary. Tracks don’t typically move through buildings to be the support element. Nor do they drive through heavy woods. You CAN have both, look at the old M113 and modern Stryker borne Infantry squad.

No. You are fundamentally wrong again. The IFV is NOT an integral part of the squad in the manner you described. That is a tank crew. Think about it. A tank crew without the tank ceases to become a tank crew. You repeatedly and continually make this same error. Not so for the Infantry squad. The Infantry squad to be an infantry squad must be able to perform its function away from the vehicle. The vehicle cannot follow everywhere the Infantry squad must go and fight to enable the mounted force’s mission.

The vehicle is never the infantry squad. It’s not a TANK! It’s like arguing a Spectre gunship is part of the squad if it’s used to transport the squad to the fight and stays to support it. It’s not. That AC130 isn’t going to go down the hallway with the squad yet the squad is expected to execute its mission without that support!

I can’t explain this any simpler. If you don’t get it it’s because you can’t separate yourself from being a tanker.

“the Army evaluated the FCS system concept the old fashioned way, using JANUS and CASTFOREM”

No. TRAC WSMR used JANUS and CASTFORUM but realized the attrition models were not adequate. Every schoolhouse did qualitative and quantitative analysis to FCS. I know Knox used ONESAF and at Benning we used both ONESAF and JCATs in collaboration and in a stovepipe manner to provide data to support FCS development. Both those simulations are exclusively wargame based. We in fact conducted MAN-YEARS worth of virtual simulations/wargaming to include building mockups of the vehicles and immersing infantry in the fight.

The Army’s best resourced lab still exists. The Soldier Battle Lab at Benning assimilated the Knox lab and is now called the Maneuver Battle Lab.

ditto on tmb’s question

“What about the Bradley didn’t you like in OIF?”

and we had the national will to lose a bunch of them including their crews.

We have to have Main Battle Tanks and Heavy APC’s to face what threat?

The Russians and Chinese are always going to have missiles for sale big enough to take out anything we build. We are never again going to be in a land war with an equivalent foe. Any new war will be won or lost with cyber warfare, anti-satellite weapons and air power.

So use hackers, light infantry and B-52s laden with SDBs for victory?

The Puma is so new it is a hypothetical GCV contender, but will probably lose since it only carries 6 passengers like the Bradley. That said, ~31 tons -> 43 tons isn’t bad.

The K21 is made out of fiberglass, bringing weight to 25 tons, carries 9. At the moment it appears to still retain amphib capability.

“The vehicle is made up of composite armour consisting of various layers of ceramics, glass fibre and lightweight alloy. The front armour is designed to protect from large-calibre automatic cannon rounds that can penetrate armour up to 50mm at a range of 1,000m. The side armour protects from 14.5mm AP rounds that can penetrate armour up to 25mm from a range of 1,000m. The top portion of the vehicle can withstand attacks from 152mm artillery shells exploding from 10m away.”

Joe — We weren’t supposed to have any big land wars after WWI. After WWII nukes supposedly made large armies targets. After the ’73 war AT missiles were supposedly going to make tanks obsolete. You adding your name to all the prophets? The track record isn’t good.

As a 19K this is too freaking heavy

Update: Original link out. I *think* it has moved to this one.

Need someone with access to original to double-check their files.

I have been told that the Germans produced an “Elephant” version of the Tiger in World War II. At Kursk it got literally “stuck in the mud” and was useless against swarms of Soviet tanks getting close enough so as to render the Elephant’s main armament useless. Of course the Soviets were willing to take enormous losses in order to kill Elephants…


It was moved to your link.

The Germans missed the lessons of blitzkrieg, which was to go where the enemy wasn’t, to encircle and destroy rather than to smash enemies head on. The poor guys at Stalingrad learned that the Russians weren’t ignorant of that when the consequence of Operation Uranus was to encircle Paulus.

Re Elefants and Wikipedia (shudder)
“While this was a disadvantage, most combat losses were from mine damage and mechanical failure. Within four days nearly half of the vehicles were out of service, mostly due to technical problems and mine damage to tracks and suspension. Combat losses to enemy action were very low as the very thick armor protected the Ferdinand from almost all Soviet antitank weaponry; in fact, most of the vehicles destroyed or captured had been abandoned by their crews after mechanical failure.
Many of these immobilized Ferdinands had to be permanently abandoned, as they proved too heavy to tow for most German recovery vehicles. Others were lost to mechanical breakdown during the retreat following the Soviet counter-offensive in the latter stages of the battle.”

AchtungPanzer claims:

“On the first days of action, Ferdinands were disaster due to the technical problems (few were lost because of the fuel line fires), the lack of adequate support and the most important the lack of a self-defense weapon. Many Ferdinands were destroyed either by their crews after being immobilized (by combat damage or mechanical problem) or by Soviet infantry and artillery as well as by SU-152 “Zwieroboj” heavy mechanised guns. It was recorded that some Ferdinand’s crews (ex. Major Noak’s crew) used to fire their 7.92mm MG34 machine guns through the barrel of main 88mm gun while others mounted their 7.92mm MG34 underneath the gun, in order to fire at the enemy infantry units. Temporary field-made solution was the rear mounted platform for Panzergrenadiers, but it only resulted in heavy casualties among them. During the Kursk offensive until November of 1943, Ferdinands from sPzJagAbt 653 destroyed some 320 Soviet tanks and lost 13 Ferdinands, while entire 656 sPanzerjager Regiment destroyed some 502 Soviet tanks and 100 other vehicles. Ferdinands proved to be very effective when employed behind the lines.”

The Army listed K21 in their original AoA as an NDI candidate, but eliminated it from consideration in the “screening analysis” phase of that AoA. The rationale for screening it out, as with CV-90, was “Lack of RPG protection”.

Later, when the Army realized that the vehicle they wanted was unaffordable, they did not go back to the screened-out vehicles to see if any of them might represent a reasonable compromise between capability and affordability.

But doesn’t that mean that a 9-dismount vehicle wouldn’t actually achieve “squad integrity” in practice, because as soon as one dismount is absent or injured, you no longer have an effective force and need to link up with another squad anyway?

On a tangent — if you can now put the entire squad in one vehicle, why do you need a 1-for-1 replacement of M2 with GCV? (I suspect the answer is that the combat sims think the force effectiveness is coming from the Bradley armament, not from the deployed squads…)

To your second point, the carrying capacity of the 4-vehicle Bradley platoon never accounted for the platoon leader, forward observers, and medics. They only ever got a ride in a Brad if the platoon wasn’t at full strength (happens often enough). A 1:1 replacement guarantees everyone a seat plus some wiggle room.

The Ferdinand/Elefant was technically a tank-destroyer and not a tank. Tank destroyers were built to mount an artillery tube on a tank chassis without a turret for the sole purpose of taking out other tanks. For example, when the Ferdinand was built, the Panzers had 60mm and 75mm cannons on a turret while the Ferdinand got the 88mm AT cannon in a fixed position. As Guderian remarks in Blight’s comment, when they were used in the same circumstances as tanks they got chewed up.

Russ we need something that can take a punch and keep going not a Humvee

One of the problems the Germans had after they lost the steam for conducting maneuver warfare is that they decided bigger tanks were better. German engine technology wasn’t advancing with the armaments tech so the tanks got slower and the tracks needed to be widened. The Panzer IIs that conquered Poland and France could do 25mph, but by the time the King Tiger came out in late 1944 they could only do 12mph and they got stuck in the mud and snow a lot.

I wouldn’t say never. Never is a very exclusive word. And I can imagine a number of scenarios where the squad vehicle does just that…follows the dismounts and supports by fire.

Tell you what — if what you say is valid, then we can do like the Marines and make entire platoons and companies out of infantry fighting vehicles, and make more command slots for armor officers. Just like the AMTRACers. Then your beloved light infantry can stay as light as it likes, with no need for close integration with those “tanks”.

“Assimilating” UAMBL pretty much tossed away the intellectual property built up at Fort Knox over the years. Military people come and go — the civilians stay on. Not that it was ever that great a place to work as a civilian. Low wages, poor job security, no real opportunity for advancement. And OneSAF only existed as a very legacy “testbed” when the FCS AoA was done. If Benning had a good virtual simulation of the ICV, then that was very well-kept secret. It really does help to reach out and not expect the rest of the world to revolve around Building 4. Just being the richest kid in town does not make you the smartest.

I’m not aware of the “intellectual property” you are talking about. During FCS studies Knox hired part time workers for their studies to operate various systems. Many of these hires were non military students. Benning kept a cadre of army veteran employees on full time which limited the size of the force but retained a cadre that new military tactics and were fully trained on FCS capabilities. Benning did this despite the fact that Knox had a bigger budget.

Knox at one point even tried to usurp the Infantry role and model it there under the guise that it was under the “maneuver” role of the lab. That failed when Knox demonstrated it was not committed to portraying the Infantry fight to the same level as the tank fight (e.g. databases of cities featured buildings you couldn’t put Infantry inside so all fighting happened in the streets which gave a false representation on how effective FCS was in determining the enemy layout, there were also numerous infantrymen modeling shortcomings like no body armor, land warrior, operations away from vehicles and even the depiction of the size of the grunt).

You have a very partial bias to Knox.

Perhaps I should’ve noted that I was referring to achtungpanzer the website, and not Guderian’s “Achtung Panzer”, published in ’37. My bad.

We are at that point where the Germans were in the ‘40s:

“Are these tracks too heavy”?

But by Kursk, the Panther would debut, the Tiger was known and the Elefant would debut as well…

Is this your sour grapes approach? I’m going to take my toys and go home! :)

No, we (the Army) have a different perspective about combined arms than the Marines in this regard. We want commanders to train and own those assets so the mounted and dismounted element instinctually and habitually leverage each other. It’s why cavalry units have cavalry scouts organic to the unit vs having them cross attached from an infantry unit. Working together and being in the same unit ensures mounted/dismounted elements fully understand each other’s limitations and capabilities. Infantrymen don’t try and do things that can be done easier with the IFV and the IFV crew undertsands how it can best serve the dismounted scheme of maneuver.

You may want to read up on the Falluja and see the difference between how Army mechanized units operate and how Marine Infantry with mech attached functioned. http://​www​.dtic​.mil/​c​g​i​-​b​i​n​/​G​e​t​T​R​D​o​c​?​A​D​=​A​D​A​4​5​4​930 Bellavia also discusses differences in a fleeting manner in his book “House to House”.

OK, I’ll throw you a bone. Exceedingly rare.

While discussing the Elephant is constructive from soley a weight perspective as it pertains to the GCV much is lost on focusing on its tank killer role. Most fail to realize the GCV’s primary mission is not to be a tank killer.

The Elephant was an almost desperate attempt to field a quick numbers solution against the T34. The 88mm was the smallest gun in the German inventory that could reliably defeat the T34 from all aspects/ranges and the Tiger chassis was strong enough to carry the armor needed to defend against the T34s 76mm. Tank destroyer Elephants were much quicker to field than turreted Tigers.

Today’s IED and EFP threat can be equated to the T34 of WWII. The problem is the GCV doesn’t defeat IED/EFPs. it defends against them (and not really because they’ll just get bigger). Defeating IEDs/EFPs means killing them before they are employed. Avoiding kill zones is one approach (tactics). Another is ISR assets with a kill capability to kill IED/EFP crews coupled with the ROE to actually pull the trigger (material and policy). So tactical, material and policy shortcomings are driving a 62 — 84T solution. Brilliant!

It might be illuminating to explore how the Germans applied their mechanized Infantry?

If that’s true somebody screwed up BIG TIME!

On a side note I think the K21 is too good to be true…

I agree but what does 19K (tank crewman) have to do with it? This is an Infantry vehicle. Appreciate your input but just being a tanker doesn’t add much. How about some details about why you think it’s too heavy?

Infantry Attacks was Rommel’s WWI-era autobiography that came out in 1937. Achtung Panzer (later renamed Panzer Leader) was Guderian’s autobiography which came out after the war.

The Panther was the best the Germans were going to do when you balance everything out and should have just kept cranking them out the best they could. Hitler had a fascination with heavy armor (there was a 100 ton prototype built) and despite Speer’s best efforts they were losing the war through attrition even though the Panther and the Tiger were destroying allied tanks in some cases up to 50 to 1.

I was Googling the GCV looking for any more current documentation and found a timeline of the FCS program which led off with Shinseki’s “lighter more mobile speech” in 1999. I found it insulting that he made our unofficial motto during that period “relevant and ready” which implied the Army was hunting for a place in the world. His concerns stemmed from Bosnia and Kosovo where it appeared that we couldn’t get armor across central Europe without stumbling over ourselves let alone anywhere else in the world. His concerns have some validity if we have vehicles so heavy they can’t be moved anywhere and once they’re there they destroy every road and bridge they come across.

Of course you would ask that question just as I’m away from my library for the weekend :)

The best counter IED system we had was finding them before they were assembled. Given enough prep time, the bad guys can build an IED big enough to defeat your vehicle no matter how much armor it has. Even building the cages for Strykers seemed simple, but was heavy enough to ruin the suspension systems they were originally designed with. In 2007 they had us wearing the entire body armor ensemble to include deltoid and shoulderpad kevlar. They were so concerned about us being protected that we couldn’t do more than stand there and looking menacing while skinny insurgents outran us and jumped over walls. We eventually wised up and became maneuverable again. In Afghanistan we cut body armor size in half in order to patrol the mountains.

More like the Panther II, which was only developed to prototype stage. 150mm & 100mm armor on the front & gun mantel & an upgraded Long Barreled 88mm like the King Tiger. If Germany would of had a few Panzer Divisions of those the European theater would have been a much more costly affair.

They were great mobile pillbox’s and road blocks. And you are correct most were destroyed by their own crews & not enemy fire.

That was part of their problem. Their tanks got bigger and more complex so they built fewer and fewer of them.

And we did lose a lot of crews, my grandfather was a tank commander in Europe during WWII and told me some horrific stories, he had 2 Sherman’s shot out from under him and received a Purple Heart for one of them. I have some great pictures that he had taken during the war. His Hellcat pictures are really amazing.

Probably, but there’s a threat of drawing too much from the past and extrapolating to the future.

That said, if we accept that IFVs won’t need anti-tank capability, we might as well go remote turret and have a Namur/Achzarit. That K21 is so tempting, since it carries nine men and weighs so little, but until it gets active protection systems against ATGMs and RPGs it’ll have serious survivability problems.

That said, a V-bottom requirement to protect against mines and shaped charges would rule out almost every single AFV in production today…except the specialist MRAPs. We would be forced into building from scratch with all of its costs and procurement risks.

You have to be kidding! A s a former tanker I forsee transmission problems, blown engines, slow speed, huge POL budgets, it’s underarmed, frequent track replacement, and HUGELY Overpriced. $200 per operating mile? Are you out of your minds?? We have 9,000 Abrahms and the days of mass tank combat are over. Why not upgrade the Bradleys we have billions of dollars already invested in? I swear to God, Army officers in charge of these programs have no ideas what real money is.

I agree with your assetment Russ, as a retired C-130 loadmaster we were limited to a gross wt. of 155,000 lbs for take off, operating under emer. war plans we could go to 175,000 lbs. That included the wt of the aircraft, crew, fuel, oil, pax’s and cargo. Even at that level just 1 of these vehicles weighs almost as much as a fully loaded C-130. I am not sure what the max T.O. wt. is for the C-17 or the C-5. I just don’t know how we could get a heavy force into a foreward operating base in a rapid response to a emergency.

We already have a CV, it’s called a Blawkhawk! Fast! Cheap! Good! carries 11 Passengers, excellent maneuverability, better gas mileage that a Bradley or M1! Good firepower! 84 Tons? somebody is on some serious Crack!


Target on wheels/tracks. Too heavy to fight, support, maintain, transport. You DOD folks have got to be kidding? We must have the wrong planners in place to guide us onto the next war battlefield. We need to be fast and light on all terrain and over the beach, not limited to deep water ports and super heavy transport entry points. This is like the kid telling Santa Claus that he/she wants “it all”. The planners should be replaced, give us a lighter, more miles per gallon, deadly to the enemy vehicle, or take the crews out and replace with robots.

Back at the end of WW2 the army was about to field a 155mm self propeled howitzer so heavily armored that it could withstand a direct hit by a 155 HE round. The problem was it was so heavy (about the same weight as this beast will be) that it kept sinking into the ground. At 84 tons it would destroy every hardball road it was driven on. The war was close to being over so they killed it.

Yeah, the EFV was a great example of acquisition prowess.

As for fighting, you may want to do some checking. It’s been carrying more than its weight in every category. The Army has suffered three times the casualties, deployed three times as many, served tours twice as long and often was the only force on the ground in both theatres. The ONLY area the Army lacks in is blowimg its horn.

how is it airlifted? Do we need to build a fleet of SUPER GUPPIES? how is a Bradley “outdated”, much less The Abrams, and the Styker? Put a blast spall panel on an M-113, and I will run a Huns ass into the ground.

My apology, I meant STRYKER.

Ah. And of the 160 ELEPHANTS Hitler wanted built, there were only 2. fuel guzzling beast, capable of 8 miles an hour. Imagine the logistic nightmare of fueling 84 tons even with turbine or diesel every 6–8 miles. Leave the beast alone, deny it FOOD. ROCKET the fuel line, 1st truck, last truck, anymore you want to play with in between!!! HEEMT be damned!

84 tons ? Seriously ? So much for decent range on one tank of gas. What is the maximum sustainable speed fully loaded ? Compared to a Bradley or a Stryker, how many of these bloated behemoths will be able to be loaded on a single C-141 or C-5 ? Will a standard flat bed tractor-trailer be even able to haul one safely if it weighs as much as an Abrams or more ?
Survivability is one thing, but maneuverability, sustainability and lethality should not be sacrificed as part of that combat readiness equation.

This is just more proof that the DOD can cut their budget by a lot and still have money to operate in the black. The joint chiefs of staff must be replaced with intelligent people , not run by a bunch of WW2 holdovers. They have wasted too much of the taxpayers money already. Their reluctance to replace the current M4 rifle with a much better rifle is indicative of their sheer stupidity.

Is carrying a 9-man squad important enough that you would accept a vehicle that is no better than a Bradley in protection, lethality, and mobility?

It’s a serious question, because the Army almost certainly can’t afford anything that both carries 9 and improves performance.


After close to a decade of Infantry centric type combat in urban areas we’ve relearned the lesson. I’ve listed several documents including the article’s CBO report. (The VanRiper study is especially informative). They are in this thread. Let me know if you can’t find them.

BTW, I commanded a Bradley rifle company during Desert Storm and I like the Bradley with its shortcoming but I would give up a multitude of things to get the nine man mechanized squad whole again..

Marines deploy 13-man Rifle Squads. 3X 4-man Fire Teams and a Squad Leader.

Why can’t anyone think Light Cav? Many units moving veeeeery fast and very light !!!
John is another of the very correct !

The moment someone mentions the M113, you are already in the 10–20 ton weight class. No way is that “veery fast and very light !!!”. A number of M113’s can be moved by C-17, and they meet the weight limit for a C-130, but the logistics of putting enough 10–20 ton vehicles on target in a few lifts is still challenging.

I suppose a brigade of Wiesel-2’s in a mix of TOW, 20mm, mortar and infantry carrier variants would spice things up…but they can’t be paradropped, and must be transported by C-130 or helicopter.

Thanks for the reply, this late in the thread.

If that’s the case, then the Army needs to take a realistic look at all of the implications of that. Off the top of my head, those include
– it’s going to weigh a lot more than you want it to
– it’s not going to fit down a lot of urban streets
– it’s not going to be a leap forward in mobility or lethality
– it may not even be as capable as a Bradley in some ways

The sooner they get through the anger and denial phases, the better off they’ll be in the long run.

No problem.

The expectation that it have tank like protection is causing the problems. That protection expectation is going to make itin the 60+T range which puts it in the M1 Abrams range in weight and size.

It will be just as mobile as the M1 which is fine, same for size which sucks for both vehicles._Lethality? A vehicle of that size can house a smaller cannon or heavy unmanned weapon with a medium antitank missile. That’s also fine._The only area it wouldn’t be as capable as the Bradley is deployability which IS significant.

I’m not a fan of tank like protection on an IFV but our society & military has become so casualty averse I fear we are doomed to pursue that path.

But that’s just the point majr0d — you can’t give it the Bradley weapons and the Bradley hp/ton and the Bradley width, and also give it enough interior space for the full squad and tank-like protection. The concept vehicles keep going back and forth on whether they can afford to include a TOW or a 30mm autocannon. (Short answer — they assume they have them when telling you how good it will be, and assume they don’t when telling you what it will cost and weigh.)

If “9 dismounts” and “MRAP-like protection” are untradeable, then you’re really talking about an APC, not an IFV — unless you make it out of unaffordium.

Dave – We are talking past each other. You need to read the CBO report so we are using the same terms. E.G. The GCV exceeds MRAP like protection (an EFP or RPG will eat an MRAP alive). I’m not a fan of tank like protection for Infantry because of the increased deployment requirements.

There are many solutions out there of a remote turret light cannon and AT missile (touched them at the Infantry conference).

You CAN give the GCV, Bradley type wpns, hp/ton and enough interior space for the 9 man squad and tank-like protection (not a fan of tank like protection for an IFV/APC). It will be wider, “thinness” isn’t a requirement, though it would be nice. Keep in mind the requirement that the GCV defend against EFPs and RPGs is driving width (not IEDs which MRAPs address).

I’ve read the CBO report, and I agree that it’s a very useful document. I said “MRAP-like” because that’s the phrase the Army has consistently used to describe their goal. One briefing I saw said that they didn’t like to say “tank-like” because for some people it implies that only the forward aspect would get the highest protection level.

The Army proposed 30mm, TOW, MARIO, APS, and full EFP/RPG protection as their first choice in the AoA. They estimated its price at about $27M each. Taking off the TOW and the sensor isn’t going to cut your costs in half. The independent estimate for the stripped-down version that the Army next proposed is $17M each. The affordability cap imposed by AT&L is $13M each. (Average Procurement Unit Cost, 2012 dollars).

We’ll have to agree to disagree on whether there’s an affordable 9-dismount design that meets the protection requirement and matches Bradley in other capabilities.


Just saw this post. Interesting digest.

“…the Army armored MEDEVACs are a godsend on the battlefield because, in the Marine Corps, we don’t have any armored evacuation.

The Marines did in fact possess the AAVP7A1 (assault amphibian
vehicle personnel), but they were hesitant to bring the troop carrier into the
city. “It’s got the armor plating of most good desks,” Karcher explained.
“It’s a very lightly armored vehicle; having said that, they were reluctant
to bring those into the city, and rightfully so…”

I thought the only ambulances were –113’s? I know the AAVP7’s have to be light to be buoyant, but for it to be worse than the –113 is something serious…

Because “veeeeery fast and very light” troops don’t do well in slow urban ops…

Sorry, but all the substantial readings I’ve done over my adult lifetime, from the classics to H.R. McMaster and beyond.. infantry is the focus of all non-nuclear forces. Cavalry can recon., screen and slash at the enemy, armor can smash just about anything on the ground, air and navel forces can clear the seas and skies, Intel., engineers (my branch), C/A, Special Operations, logistics — ALL critical to victory. But it is the infantry that in the end, each grove of trees, cave, tropical valley, mountain top and house that must find, fix, destroy, clear and occupy the ground.

What about the Israel’s experiences? They seem to really like taking a heavy tank and reconfiguring it as a mobile and heavily protected APC for use in urban conditions.

How about two MRAPs per squad? Could/are crew served weapons currently used atol MRAPs?

An 84 ton GCV, God I despise that entire concept. WHO could possible think that that is a good idea?

It is an identical debate from the earliest days of navel warfare to today… armament v. mobility v. protection. Sometimes you get classic designs like the Iowa class battleships, the German Panther or the F-15 Eagle, but too often you end up with Royal Navy battle-cruisers blowing up at Jutland, (although they were being misused as ships of the line instead of as heavy commerce raiders or to defend the RN battleships from torpedo attack).

Also the U.S. had a great capacity to repair the relatively simple (and terribly out matched) M-4 Shermans. Men like my 90 year old father (T-5 tool section leader, 528th Heavy Maintenance Company (I)(Tanks) — a U.S. Third Army asset once on the continent — fought for the burned hulks, buried too many brave but doomed tankers, repaired and re-built all types of armored vehicles so quickly that I’ve read estimates (no citation — I read two Army reports at least ten years ago) that the American armored divisions operated at AT LEAST three times the operational level of the German Panzer forces due largely to our ability to regenerate our losses in both men and especially, vehicles. The Germans designed and built amazing designs, but they were (as German engineering has always been, save for a few like the Mauser 98 action and the 88 mm cannon) too complicated, expensive and time consuming to build, prone to breaking down and for the Panzers of WWII, almost UNREPAIRABLE. A Panther or Tiger lost in battle was lost forever. Thank God.

and we fixed ‘em fast

The Israelis don’t use Merkavas to deploy Infantry into combat. They at most use Merkas to provide a max of five men for local security and evacuate casualties. That’s quite different than what IFVs do.

The Namer doesn’t have to be deployed beyond the borders of Israel. They also don’t have to be concerned with the various environments we may have to operate in or over e.g bridges.

What happened to faster and lighter… have we forgotten that a moving target is harder to hit? Lighten the sucker up, improve cost per mile, gain speed and tactical advantage. I dare any modern targeting system to hit a target traveling at say 70 MPH! How many people know that Chrysler designed a tank that could travel at that speed for WWI? It was deemed to dangerous because it was too fast. Mobile and impervious don’t go together, but high speed and mobile do.

the service span of bradleys still acceptable, considering that m119 had a soberb large term. Is not my country so is not my money, but the bradley is more effective than 2 o 3 strykers. Talking about shields.

You’re totally correct on that one. Too many cooks in that kitchen.

true, my bad


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